Does the Free Credit Report Make Sense?

31-Mar-2018 written by : FSI-Team

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Gone are the days when you had to pay for a credit report. Thanks to the Reserve Bank of India, now you can get one free credit report every year from all the credit rating agencies in India including CIBIL, Equifax, etc.

Your free credit report can tell a lot of things including your creditworthiness, your repayment history of various loans, loan inquiries, etc. All this information is important to secure your financial future as well as to identify frauds easily. However, with this kind of convenience, the question has to be asked- does it make sense?

The Truth About Free Credit Report

When RBI announced that the credit rating agencies must provide one free credit report to the individuals every year, you can imagine why the agencies were not pleased. However, as unhappy they were with the RBI’s new rule, they knew they had to comply nevertheless.

Although the free credit report is extremely useful for many reasons, the problem is that the process for obtaining one hasn't been simplified enough for the common man. For instance, we can take a look at the process of getting one from the top 3 credit rating bureaus:

1. Equifax

If you go to the official website home page of Equifax, you can clearly see a link for getting your free report. This is the entire process for the same right here:

  • Download the Equifax app on your smartphone from the official app store
  • Share an email address on which the firm can send a PIN that you will use for authentication
  • Enter personal details as required, as well as your Aadhaar.
  • An OTP will be sent to your registered mobile number which you can use for completing the verification process.
  • Once done, your free report will be sent within 2 days


Just like Equifax, CIBIL has put a link for free CIBIL report on its website. However, you won't be able to find it that easily as it's located below the frontpage content and you have to scroll down to find it. On the other hand, the "Get Your CIBIL Score" link which is highlighted and put on the top of the website will take you to its subscription plans that are available for 1 month, 6 months, or 1 year, all of which are paid.

A general user who isn't aware that CIBIL is required to offer a free report to them won't be able to find about it. They are more likely to reach the paid subscriptions page and pay for their report instead.

3. CRIF High Mark

CRIF High Mark is another major credit rating firm in the country. However, here again, you will find the same lack of convenience and advertisement for the free credit report feature that can be of great use for the consumers who are worried that they may have a low score, or that their name could be on the loan defaulters list.

Although the credit rating agencies have modified their web portals to comply with RBI's regulations, they can certainly do a better job at educating the consumers and letting more and more of them find about and use the free report facility. That said, those who can get their hands on their report can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Identification of discrepancies or errors: By checking your credit report you can verify that your bank has shared the correct details of your repayment history and various accounts. You can also identify discrepancies or mistakes in your report, fixing which you can improve your score.
  • Creditworthiness: You can check your creditworthiness through various factors such as remarks by banks in your report, name on a loan defaulters list, total debt, late payments, and the score itself.
  • Identity theft: Identity thefts are still rampant in the country and the best way to check them is by checking your credit report frequently. This is because if you notice a loan inquiry or a credit card payment that you aren’t aware of in your report, then it can be a result of an identity theft.

Free reports have their uses and there is no reason for you to not avail the service. That said, you may want to invest in a subscription plan still as you must check your report at least once every few months.



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